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Six Simple steps to Installing a New Shower That the Pro’s will not tell you about. And it is so Simple that Anyone can do it.
STEP 1: Set the base track
— Measure the length of the shower threshold, then use a hacksaw to cut the aluminum base track to fit tightly between the stall walls.
— Smooth the cut end with a file. Vacuum up the metal filings immediately so they don’t scratch the bathroom floor or shower base.
— Place the track on the threshold and use a tape measure to make sure that it’s centered from front to back.
— With a pencil, mark the threshold along the edge of the track near each end. This allows easy repositioning if it slides around during installation of the jambs.
STEP 2: Attach the hinge-side jamb
— On the side of the shower opening that will support the door, hold a jamb piece against the wall so that its lower end fits into the base track. Without moving the track, use a 4-foot level to adjust the jamb until its plumb.
— Stick a pencil through the jamb’s screw holes to mark the wall.
— Remove the jamb, and at each pencil mark make a small divot using an automatic punch or hammer and nail set. (These tools chip the tile’s glaze enough to prevent the drill bit from wandering.) Drill holes at each mark using a 3/16-inch-diameter masonry drill bit.
— Tap a plastic wall anchor into each screw hole. Use a plastic mallet to avoid marring the walls.
— Hold the jamb against the wall so its screw holes align with the plastic anchors. Drive a 1½-inch stainless steel pan-head screw into each hole.
STEP 3: Hang the door
— Lift the door with its attached hinge rail positioned to swing out, and slip the hinge rail into the jamb.
— Hold the door in place and check its strike-side edge with a level to make sure it’s plumb. If it’s not, pull the hinge rail out of the jamb slightly at the top or bottom. Once the door is plumb, the hinge rail should still be engaged in the jamb—there’s a full ½ inch of adjustment for plumb between these two pieces.
— While a helper holds the door in place, drill four 7/32-inch pilot holes through the holes in the hinge rail and into the mounted jamb. Fasten the hinge rail to the jamb with the ½-inch stainless steel pan-head screws provided.
STEP 4: Install the remaining side jamb
— If there is no glass side panel, slip the magnetic strike rail onto the remaining side jamb and stick them to the magnetic strip on the door. Holding the rail and jamb in position, close the door until it lines up with the base track. Adjust the jamb until it’s flush against the wall. With a pencil, mark the wall alongside the jamb. Remove the jamb from the rail.
— Align the jamb with the pencil line on the wall and mark and punch the screw hole locations as in STEP 2. Drill the holes for the plastic anchors. Fasten the jamb to the wall with the 1½-inch screws.
— To install a glass side panel, slip the remaining jamb onto one of the panel’s edges and the magnetic strike rail on the other. Then fit the bottom edge of the panel into the base track and butt the jamb against the wall. Close the door and grasp the top of the panel and the door in one hand. With your other hand, mark the wall alongside the jamb. Remove the jamb and the magnetic rail from the panel and attach the jamb as above. Slide the panel back into its jamb and base track.
STEP 5: Complete the enclosure
— If a header is being used, measure and cut to length as in STEP 1. Slip it over the top of the hinge jamb and side panel. Drill a 7/32-inch pilot hole through the inside face of the header at each end and into the corresponding jamb. Drive a ½-inch screw into each hole.
— Replace the magnetic strike rail on the strike jamb or, if used, on the edge of the stationary panel. Adjust it so that the magnetic strips on the door and rail produce a watertight seal along their entire length when the door is closed. Screw the strike rail into the holes of the strike jamb or stationary panel with the ½-inch screws.
— Install the door handles that come with the kit. Align the outside door handle with the holes in the doorframe. Attach the interior handle and tighten the set screws.
— Stabilize the assembly by drilling a pilot hole and driving a ½-inch screw through the outside face of the base track wherever it meets a vertical frame member. Repeat the process on the inside face of the header. Center the screws on the aluminum extrusions to avoid hitting the glass.
STEP 6: Finish waterproofing
— Pull the thin vinyl sweep out of the drip rail and set it aside. Then cut the drip rail with a hacksaw to match the width of the door. Round off the ends of the cut with a file.
— Slide the vinyl sweep back into the groove in the rail. Crimp the ends of the groove closed with pliers to hold the sweep permanently in place. Trim off its overhanging end with a utility knife.
— With the vinyl sweep pointing down, hold the drip rail against the inside bottom edge of the door. Drill 7/32-inch pilot holes into the door frame through the elongated mounting holes and low enough to avoid hitting the glass, which sits ¼ inch into the trim. Attach it with the ½-inch screws. Before tightening the screws, tilt the rail down slightly toward the hinge side so that water will drain away from the strike.
— Apply a bead of clear, mildew-resistant silicone along both the inside and outside edges of the base track and along the inside edges of both the jambs.
About the Author: Cryste Wisne has been in the California Custom Showers Business for the past 10 years. She has used her vast experience as a Contractor in the design, installation, and implementation of custom showers in California.